Kentucky considering “academic” bible classes

Published February 13th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson


The Kentucky Post reports the state of Kentucky is considering allowing the Christian Bible to be studied in school.  

From state Senator Bowen:

No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it’s had so much influence on our society and all of Western civilization.

Senator Bowen sponsored the Bill “which would direct the state Department of Education to develop a course curriculum around the Bible, which local school councils could then approve for teaching in their schools.”

The bill was approved by Kentucky’s State Senate and now goes to the House for review.

Ostensibly the purpose of the legislation is to ensure that the teaching of the bible is taught in the context of literature or as a part of culture.  That would be nice.  Of course this blurring of the separation of church and state will cause overreaching by those who feel its their Duty to God as it has in the past.

I would love to see a comparative religion course made mandatory in public schools across the US.  

94 Responses to “Kentucky considering “academic” bible classes”

  1. Danielle says:

    Anyone live in Kentucky? Make them do Koran classes as well.

    • Wesley says:

      As well as Torah and the Gospels of the FSM.

  2. zebobbybird says:

    As somebody who is very tolerant and open, i say it is an excellent idea.
    As long as the koran, and the torrahs and the eightfold path each get their own class.

    • Keith says:

      They should also teach about Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Hindu, Norse, Persian, Egyptian and many other religions that have had a “major impact” on Western society. To say that the buybull is “the most important book ever written” is fundamentalist arrogance.

      • TiltedHorizon says:

        I’d have to say the most important book ever written is the dictionary. No other book does more for humanity; it is language which allows ideas and information to be articulated and shared, without it even the Bible would not exist.

        Considering the illegible babble and gross misuse of words like ‘science’, ‘evidence’, and ‘proof’ posted by some of the god fearing, it’s clear the dictionary is rarely, if ever, referenced. Maybe it was written by the devil?

        • Keith says:

          Remember there is already a “Devil’s Dictionary” written ny Ambrose Bierce. You can download it here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/972.
          The regular dictionary was first popularised (and authored) by Samuel Johnson who was deathly scared of the afterlife.

        • stylusmobilus says:

          I believe it is standard practice not to reference a dictionary as a source. Why, I have no idea. Perhaps someone who has a better understanding of sourcing and referencing may be able to clarify that a bit better.

    • puppygoogoo says:

      What about FSM? pirate costumes anyone?

  3. Fitzy says:

    I had to take a “Bible in/as Literature” class in High School last year. Let me just say, it very much was a “Bible Study” class. I was the only non-xian in the class. Very awkward.

    • Pastor De Grano Duro says:

      This reminds me (for some obscure reason) of the reaction from my RE teacher at boarding school when she saw my copy of ‘Lord of the Rings’ in amongst my batch of textbooks. Nonplussed would be a mild description. Bahahahaha, it still cracks me up.

  4. Michael the Arch-Angel Hair says:

    We already have these classes. It’s called theology. There is a reason it’s taught at the college level. As any psychologist will tell you the minds of children are so easily molded. The veil that Christianity and religion has had a ‘profound’ influence on society will eventually grow thicker. Often in history, these ‘profound’ influences are more than abhorrent. Let us not forget that slavery and the Holocaust had just as ‘profound’ influences on our societies as did the Inquisition and the Crusades. The veil will soon become a blindfold and once again charred bodies of scientists and philosophers will mark the beginning of the New Dark Ages.

    • Fossegrimen says:

      I know this is an ages old comment, but still.

      There is a strong correlation between teaching comparative religions in primary school and what you might call atheism or lack of belief in the population. All the scandinavian countries teach comparative religion from a young age and they are fairly close to the top of the list when it comes to % atheists. I know that correlation is not causation but one would assume that the causality arrow points one way or the other when it comes to these two seemingly closely related subjects

      • Keith says:

        That may be so but when I went to primary school, religious education meant christian indoctrination. There was nothing comparative about it. There are plenty of influential crazies in countries other than the Scandinavian ones who would turn comparative religion classes into bible bashing sessions. Much as I look back on the ’60s with some fondness, (I was given my first dinosaur kit in 1965) religion being “taught” in schools is one thing I would not want to return.

        • SillyKiwiMan says:

          It was the 80s for me, but the same thing happened.

          One day a woman came into the classroom and started handing out stickers. All kids like stickers (I was 10 or so). There was nothing remarkable about them, they were just pictures of people with familiar names. The next week it was cards and word games, heavy on the familiar names, but so far there was no mention of god etc. The next week they started slipping in the religious shit, using the familiarity with certain names we’d just been introduced to as the vehicle. I realised what was happening immediately, most didn’t. It was all a game.

          When you have to start something like this with underhanded tactics, you lose moral high ground.

          The teacher was a born-again. There had been no consultation with parents. At the time my main objection wasn’t the insidious nature of what they were doing, more that it was a waste of valuable learning time. When maths etc. wasn’t the easiest, why waste time on stuff that was obviously bullshit? At the age of about 7 I went to a Sunday school to see what the fuss was about. I was encouraged not to return after asking too many awkward questions and pointing out too many problems. If a 7 year old boy can see through this shit, what the hell is wrong with the adults?

          When I had a moan at my parents about the waste of classroom time it was met with bemused laughter at the fact that for the first time, I’d found something less palatable than maths class.

        • Keith says:

          Looks as though you were more enlightened at an early age than I was. I do remember asking in all innocence how god made Mary pregnant. A stunned silence ensued. The question was never answered.

        • SillyKiwiMan says:

          I don’t know if I’d say enlightened, I’ve just always been a cynic almost devoid of romance or sentiment. Mostly I’ve always despised dishonesty. I reckon that’s what I find most offensive about religion. If you don’t know, say so. Sure, put forth theories to explain things, but expect them to be critically analyzed, and don’t base them on bullshit. When questioning pokes holes in your ideas, revise that idea rather than hiding your head in the sand & damning the questioner.

          Science is not flawless. It is, however, dynamic. The fact that attractive and inertial gravity behave the same, but for no good reason just means that we don’t really understand what’s happening. We realise this gap in knowledge and keep exploring. We don’t say “that’s just how it is, stop asking questions and enjoy your ‘faith’ in it”. To plug knowledge gaps with complete crap is just dishonest.

        • Keith says:

          Two quotes regarding science from one of my favourite films: “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (the original: I never bothered with the remake). They may not be indicative of the true nature of science but they are still evocative:

          Klaatu: You have faith, Professor Barnhardt?

          Barnhardt: It isn’t faith that makes good science, Mr. Klaatu, it’s curiosity. Sit down, please. There are several thousand questions I’d like to ask you.

          Barnhardt: Have you tested this theory?

          Klaatu: I find it works well enough to get me from one planet to another.

  5. flyin2chaos says:

    Hello Bobby. Discussion in the classroom, I would say opportunity in knocking at our porthole. The number of people ready to bring thought provoking questions and answers into the religious debate with their fellow students and instructors is growing daily. With a little assistance they can go places. What would you say to a new fsm link dedicated to helping those students brave enough to speak up religious studies classes.

    lets see, just for starters

    Inspiration – Don’t be afraid to speak up.

    How to effectively introduce new topics into the discussion.
    What to do when the prayer starts.
    Your constitutional rights.

    Rarely studied bible passages.
    History of the Church.
    Science and Religion.
    Comparative studies with other belief systems (fsm).

    Support groups in your area

    • m610 says:

      Great idea. Essentially a survival kit.

      • Keith says:

        I agree

  6. Dusty says:

    From what I’ve read, this legislation is largely symbolic. There is not much support behind the measure and it’s likely to die in committee.

    • tekHedd says:

      Heck, as far as I can tell, all legislation these days is symbolic. Those crazy legislators with their agendas!

  7. Hippie Pirate says:

    My high school had a couple of courses on the bible, one for the old testament, one for the new, taught as literature and a part of culture. We also had a religions around the world class as well as a mythology class. I did not take the bible courses but it was a popular class not only among Christians but also Atheists. The professor never got any complaints that he was pushing Christianity. I think this would be fine as long as they find the right professor to teach it.

    • Keith says:

      I’m certainly not taking a dig at you but I’d be interested to know why they had seperate classes for religions around the world and mythology. Surely they are one and the same.?

      • Hippie Pirate says:

        Funnily enough the same teacher taught them. One during the fall semester and the other during the second semester. Most of the people in either class took the other. World Religions focused on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism (though it isn’t so much a religion as a philosophy), and a couple others that people still practice today. Mythology focused on the Roman gods, Norse Mythology, ancient Chinese stuff, and some Native American legends. My guess is it has to do with whether or not a good chunk of the world population still practice.

        • Keith says:

          I daresay that is the reason for the division.

  8. xxicenturyboy says:

    My High School did a Bible Lit class. I highly recommend taking it. The teacher who will be teaching it will obviously be either a Funda-Mental Christian or at least a believer. Once you got into the nitty gritty of how poorly written it is, and challenging the “meaning” of the Old Testament (THOU SHALL NOT KILL, unless you really really want to or I tell you to) we had driven our poor teacher crazy and I think that was the last year it was taught. We constantly teased the Christians in the class also. They would always cross the line of “literature” and “belief”. So we would read the passages out loud, then finish by saying “as if anyone would believe that” or “what a horrible moral to teach someone”. If they said anything, we would say that even the school says that this is fiction otherwise it would be a history class and not a literature class. We even put that in our school paper that the school recognized that the bible was fiction. Talk about pissing people off, but they couldn’t do one thing about it. It would have been fun to have been able to compare the Bible teachings with the Gospel of the FSM. But I was not shown His Noodley Appendage till recently. RAmen.

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